Whole Education Experts,
We’re progressing in our journey through the founding of our nation this week. As you talk with your children make sure to highlight the attributes Patrick Henry and Tomas Paine may have learned through the Age of Enlightenment and/or the First Great Awakening. These, of course, were not the only influences during this time but they are two solid handles that we can use to help our children learn to sift ideas and categorize them.
This week we’ll explore Nitrogen in science! Beware! Your children will learn to love clover!
You’re doing a great job teaching your children. Keep going. It is not always easy to homeschool, well, it is rarely easy to homeschool, but the rewards are great. Hang in there!
Week 5 Card 1 Patrick Henry
For Our Little Ones
Patrick Henry failed as a planter and a storekeeper but later found success as a politician and lawyer. He was passionate about the new American nation and wanted to convince others to join in the fight for freedom. After the war, Patrick Henry helped those who had sided with King George III to receive their land back and insisted on the Bill of Rights.
- What kind of man was Patrick Henry?
- Did he only look after himself and his own ideals or did he consider others?
One of the great figures of the revolutionary generation, orator and Virginia statesman Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was both typical of his age and an enigma. He was first a failure as a planter and storekeeper, but then a brilliant success as a lawyer and politician. In the events that led to the Revolution he took a radical stance, most famously in his denunciation of George III after the passage of the Stamp Act. He opposed the tariffs imposed by the Townshend Acts and the British attempt to collect them by using the Royal Navy and naval courts-martial to apprehend and punish smugglers. He stood in the vanguard of those calling for united action by all the colonies against British ‘tyranny.’ In the Continental Congress he backed such actions as the general boycott of British goods and the raising of a Continental army. He was a firebrand demanding national independence, as seen in his Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech at an extralegal session of the Virginia Assembly in March 1775. He took the lead in raising troops to overthrow the royal governor. During the war and its immediate aftermath he was five times governor of Virginia.
Yet after the war Henry urged restoration of the property and rights of Loyalists, arguing that they would make good citizens of the new Republic, and he bitterly opposed the Constitution as a threat to the liberties of the people and the rights of the states.
Actually, Henry had seen the union of the rebellious colonies as a marriage of convenience, a kind of defensive alliance to protect already achieved liberties. He believed that once the war had been won a strong central authority was no longer needed. Times were hard in Virginia and he favored tax cuts and the issuance of paper money by the state as a way of providing relief for debtors and small farmers, policies that Virginia nationalists like James Madison and George Washington opposed. When their concerns resulted in the calling of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Henry was elected as a delegate, but he refused to serve. After the new Constitution was published he dismissed it as an affront to ‘the spirit of republicanism’ and the ‘genius of democracy.’ The preamble, beginning ‘We the people,’ particularly offended him. ‘Who authorized them to speak the language of We the people?’ he asked. ‘If the states be not the agents of this compact, it must be one great consolidated national government.’
Yet Henry’s negativism had a positive result, probably his most significant contribution to American development. He demanded that the Constitution be amended to protect the liberties that the people had won by breaking free of the British Empire. In speech after speech he denounced the absence of a bill of rights in the document, arguing that the checks and balances stressed by people like Madison were ‘specious’ and ‘imaginary’ protection, mere ‘contrivances.’
Virginia ratified the Constitution despite Henry, but his arguments and those of Samuel Adams and other Antifederalists were persuasive. Madison soon introduced in the new Congress the constitutional amendments that became the Bill of Rights. This satisfied Henry; indeed in his later years he became a Federalist.
The Reader’s Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Week 5 Card 2 Molly Pitcher
Week 5 Card 2 Molly Pitcher
For Our Little Ones
Molly Pitcher followed her husband into the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey. She helped the Continental Army soldiers by delivering water to them during the battle. When her husband had trouble she helped operate his cannon.
Critical Thinking Questions
- How did Molly help her husband?
- Molly “just” delivered water at first. Why was it good that she was willing to do such a seemly small job. How do you react when you’re asked to do a small job such as the dishes?
Molly Pitcher was born Mary Ludwig circa October 13, 1754, near Trenton, New Jersey. During the American Revolutionary War’s Battle of Monmouth, she carried pitchers of water to soldiers, thereby earning her nickname. After her husband collapsed during the battle, she took over the operation of his cannon. Honored in 1822 for her bravery, she died in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on January 22, 1832.
Legend or Composite Myth?
There are so many different legends to Molly Pitcher that some historians believe her story is folklore or a composite of several people. Though there has been ample research done mostly by her decedents, independent review of the documents and the conclusion suggested more research is needed. Most sources identify her birth name as Mary Ludwig, daughter of Maria Margaretha and Johann George Ludwig. Most sources identify her first husband as William Hays (also sometimes referred to as John Hays), who was in the artillery and fought at the Battle of Monmouth.
Mary Ludwig, who would go down in history as Molly Pitcher, was born circa October 13, 1754, near Trenton, New Jersey. In 1768, she moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where she met William (also known as John) Hays, a local barber. They married on July 24, 1769.
Battle of Monmouth Heroics
During the American Revolutionary War, Hays enlisted as a gunner in the Continental Army. As it was common at the time for wives to be near their husbands in battle and help as needed, Pitcher followed Hays back to New Jersey during the war’s Philadelphia Campaign (1777-78).
Hays fought in the Battle of Monmouth in Freehold, New Jersey, on June 28, 1778, a brutally hot day. His wife was present as well, and she made countless trips to a nearby spring to fill pitchers of cold water for soldiers to drink and to pour over their cannons to cool them down.
As legend has it, the soldiers nicknamed her Molly Pitcher for her tireless efforts. But the legend only began with her new name. According to accounts, Pitcher witnessed her husband collapse at his cannon, unable to continue with the fight. She immediately dropped her water pitcher and took his place at the cannon, manning the weapon throughout the remainder of the battle until the Colonists achieved victory. According to the National Archives, there was a documented witness to Pitcher’s heroic acts, who reported a cannon shot passing through her legs on the battlefield, leaving her unscathed:
“While in the act of reaching a cartridge … a cannon shot from the enemy passed directly between her legs without doing any other damage than carrying away all the lower part of her petticoat. … She observed that it was lucky it did not pass a little higher… and continued her occupation.”
With her actions on that day, Molly Pitcher became one of the most popular and enduring symbols of the women who contributed to the American Revolution.
Pitcher remained with the Continental Army until the war ended, then moved back to Carlisle with Hays in April 1783. Following her husband’s death, she married a war veteran named John McCauley and worked in the State House in Carlisle. She was honored by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1822 for her wartime services, receiving an award of $40 and an annual commission of the same amount for the rest of her life.
She died on January 22, 1832, in Carlisle, where a monument commemorates her heroic acts in battle.
For Our Little Ones:
Thomas Paine was a writer whose “Common Sense” and other writings influenced many colonists to support the American Revolution. He later helped the French and their revolution.
Early Life: England
Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England, in 1737, to a Quaker father and an Anglican mother. Paine received little formal education, but did learn to read, write and perform arithmetic. At the age of 13, he began working with his father as stay maker (the thick rope stays used on sailing ships) in Thetford, a shipbuilding town. Some sources state he and his father were corset makers, but most historians site this as an example of slanders spread by his enemies. He later worked as an officer of the excise, hunting smugglers, and collecting liquor and tobacco taxes. He did not excel at this job, nor at any other early job, and his life in England was, in fact, marked by repeated failures.
To compound his professional hardships, around 1760, Paine’s wife and child both died in childbirth, and his business, that of making stay ropes, went under. In the summer of 1772, Paine published “The Case of the Officers of Excise,” a 21-page article in defense of higher pay for excise officers. It was his first political work, and he spent that winter in London, handing out the 4,000 copies of the article to members of Parliament and other citizens. In spring of 1774, Paine was fired from the excise office, and began to see his outlook as bleak. Luckily, he soon met Benjamin Franklin, who advised him to move to America and provided him with letters of introduction to the newly formed nation.
The Move to America
Paine arrived in Philadelphia on November 30, 1774, taking up his first regular employment—helping to edit the Pennsylvania Magazine—in January 1775. At this time, Paine began writing in earnest, publishing several articles, anonymously or under pseudonyms. One of his early articles was a scathing condemnation of the African slave trade, called “African Slavery in America,” which he signed under the name “Justice and Humanity.” Paine’s propagandist ideas were just coming together, and he couldn’t have arrived in America at a better time to advance his general views and thoughts on revolution and injustice, as the conflict between the colonists and England had reached a fever pitch.
Within five months of Paine’s arrival, however, the precipitating event to his most famous work would occur. After the battles of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775), which were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War, Paine argued that America should not simply revolt against taxation, but demand independence from Great Britain entirely. He expanded this idea in a 50-page pamphlet called “Common Sense,” which was printed on January 10, 1776.
Worded in a way that forces the reader to make an immediate choice, “Common Sense” presented the American colonists, who were generally still undecided, with a cogent argument for full-scale revolt and freedom from British rule. And while it likely had little effect on the actual writing of the Declaration of Independence, “Common Sense” forced the issue on the streets, making the colonists see that a grave issue was upon them and that a public discussion was direly needed. Once it initiated debate, the article offered a solution for Americans who were disgusted and alarmed at the presence of tyranny in their new land, and it was passed around and read aloud often, bolstering enthusiasm for independence and encouraging recruitment for the Continental Army. (“Common Sense” is referred to by one historian as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era.”)
Paine wrote “Common Sense” in an unadorned style, forgoing philosophical ponderings and Latin terms, and relying instead on biblical references to speak to the common man, as would a sermon. Within just a few months, the piece sold more than 500,000 copies. “Common Sense” presents as its chief option a distinctly American political identity and, more so than any other single publication, paved the way for the Declaration of Independence, which was unanimously ratified on July 4, 1776.
During the ensuing war, Paine served as volunteer personal assistant to General Nathanael Greene, traveling with the Continental Army. While not a natural soldier, Paine contributed to the patriot cause by inspiring the troops with his 16 “Crisis” papers, which appeared between 1776 and 1783. “The American Crisis. Number I” was published on December 19, 1776, and began thusly: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Washington’s troops were being decimated, and he ordered that the pamphlet be read to all of his troops at Valley Forge, in hopes of inflaming them to victory.
In 1777, Congress named Paine secretary to the Committee for Foreign Affairs. The following year, however, Paine accused a member of the Continental Congress of trying to profit personally from French aid given to the United States. In revealing the scandal, Paine quoted from secret documents that he had accessed through his position at Foreign Affairs. Also around this time, in his pamphlets, Paine alluded to secret negotiations with France that were not fit for public consumption. These missteps eventually led to Paine’s expulsion from the committee in 1779.
Paine soon found a new position as clerk of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, and observed fairly quickly that American troops were disgruntled because of low (or no) pay and scarce supplies, so he started a drive at home and in France to raise what was needed. The wartime supplies that his effort provided were important to the final success of the Revolution, and the experience led him to appeal to the states, to pool resources for the well-being of the entire nation. Furthering his goal, he wrote “Public Good” (1780), calling for a national convention to replace the ineffectual Articles of Confederation with a strong central government under “a continental constitution.”
Back to Europe: ‘Rights of Man’ and ‘The Age of Reason’
In April 1787, Paine headed back to England, where he soon became fascinated with what he heard of the roiling French Revolution. He immediately and passionately supported the Revolution, so when he read Edmund Burke’s 1790 attack on it, he was inspired to write the book Rights of Man (1791) in a scathing response. The tract moved beyond supporting the French Revolution to discussing the basic reasons for discontent in European society, railing against an aristocratic society, and end of Europe’s inheritance laws. The British government banned the book and Paine was indicted for treason, although he was already on his way to France when the decree went out and avoided prosecution. (He was later named an honorary citizen of France.)
While rallying for the revolution, Paine also supported efforts to save the life of deposed King Louis XVI (instead favoring banishment), so when the radicals under Robespierre took power, Paine was sent to prison—from December 28, 1793 to November 4, 1794—where he narrowly escaped execution. In 1794, while Paine was imprisoned, the first part of his The Age of Reason (The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology in full) was published. The book criticizes institutionalized religion for perceived corruption and political ambition, while challenging the validity of the Bible. The book was controversial, as was everything that Paine wrote, and the British government prosecuted anyone who tried to publish or distribute it. After his 1794 release from prison, Paine stayed in France, releasing the second and third parts of The Age of Reason before returning to the United States at President Jefferson’s invitation.
Engineer and Inventor
Among his many talents, Thomas Paine was also an accomplished—though not widely-known—inventor. Some of his devices were never developed beyond the planning stage, but there are a few of note. He developed a crane for lifting heavy objects, a smokeless candle, and tinkered with the idea of using gunpowder as a method for generating power. For years, Paine had possessed a fascination with bridges. He made several attempts to build bridged in both America and England after the Revolutionary War. Perhaps his most impressive engineering achievement was the Sunderland Bridge across the Wear River at Wearmonth, England. His goal was to build a single span bridge with no piers. In 1796, the 240-foot span bridge was completed. It was the second iron bridge ever built and at the time the largest in the world. Renovated in 1857, the bridge remained until 1927, when it was replaced.
Paine died in June 1809, and to drive home the point of his tarnished image, the New York Citizen printed the following line in Paine’s obituary: “He had lived long, did some good and much harm.” For more than a century following his death, this was the historical verdict handed down upon the legacy of Thomas Paine. Finally, in January 1937, the Times of London turned the tide, referring to him as the “English Voltaire”— a view that has prevailed ever since, with Thomas Paine now regarded as a seminal figure of the American Revolution.
We’re taking a breather on Link it! this week to spend some time with our earlier cards. It is so important to play with your Link it! cards and discover new links. Who could be linked to Thomas Paine’s quote from this week? (Besides Thomas Paine?)
Go through the wars again: War of Spanish Succession, French and Indian War, American Revolutionary War, French Revolution, and US Civil War. Try to add one event or key figure to each, with the exception of the US Civil War. The more your child plays with the cards the more he or she will learn!